POLICE are taking action after an increase in reports of people performing sexual acts in Mid Cheshire beauty spots.
A number of people have contacted police after spotting exhibitionists performing sexual acts - known as 'dogging' - in public toilets at Delamere and Hatchmere.
'Although this is not the usual type of problem we deal with, it is causing concern to people and we therefore take it very seriously,' said Insp Phil Hodgson, of the Western Rural Neighbourhood Policing Unit. 'This activity, known as dogging, has attracted lots of coverage in the national Press and it seems secluded areas all over the country are experiencing this type of problem.
'The details we've been receiving indicate that damage is being caused to the barriers between toilet cubicles enabling people in one area to see people in another. This then allows people to expose themselves or perform sexual acts on themselves in front of other people.'
Dogging involves exhibitionist sex, often with strangers, in semi-secluded locations such as car parks or country parks, with an audience of voyeurs. Participants appear to organise meetings over the internet, with arrangements made via e-mail or text messaging.
Insp Hodgson is liaising with the health authority and council to solve the problem. Discussions surrounding improvements to the toilet buildings and targeted patrols by police officers are already under way.
He added: 'This type of activity is not only offensive to people, there are also a number of laws under Com-
mon Law and the Sexual Offences Act which people may be breaking. The culprits need to know that we won't hesitate to take action.
'The public should be able to enjoy these areas without exposure to such activity and I assure people we are working hard to achieve that.'
Last year, we reported how Delamere Forest and a Little Bud-worth car park were listed on websites as areas where people meet to take part in the phenomenon.
One website says an area close to Delamere train station has proved popular with 'dogging' couples as has a car park reportedly near Oulton Park racetrack.